Uh Ah … Rohmer and Beatty

Squally’s Internet connection is giving him a headache. So while away your time reading these: First, Richard Brody uses Pauline sur la plage to hit on the nature of Eric Rohmer.

Given Rohmer’s love of classical music (he wrote a terrific book about it, “From Mozart to Beethoven”), it’s worth noting what the pace of his creation implied: he was able to keep a rapid pace of production for the same reason that Haydn was able to write a hundred and four symphonies in his seventy-seven years and Mozart wrote forty-one in his mere thirty-five, namely, classicism. As they did, he had a system that was based on a set of self-devised conventions. That’s why, superficially, his films seem to resemble each other; it’s also why, like these composers, each of his films seems to be part of a distinct, Rohmerian world.

Next, Glenn Kenny wrestles with Peter Biskind’s Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America, which sounds like an engaging if thoroughly scurrilous exercise in low-brow peg-taking.

Biskind announces his, and the book’s, problem in his very first line: “Finishing this book was like recovering from a lingering illness, although admittedly one that I had brought on myself.” That’s something you might expect to read from a biographer of Joseph Stalin or maybe Jeffrey Dahmer; for a biographer of Beatty, it seems a little overwrought. Unless you understand what exactly is, and has been, at stake for Biskind throughout his bookwriting career.

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